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Germany charges executives for selling spyware to Turkey

May 22, 2023

Four former executives have been charged with illegally selling software to Turkey's secret services so it could spy on the country's opposition. The suspects are from the Munich-based FinFisher which develops spyware.

Keys of an illuminated keyboard
Bavarian prosecutors have charged four people with allegedly selling Trojan software to Turkish secret servicesImage: Sebastian Gollnow/dpa/picture alliance

German authorities have filed charges against four suspects from a firm over allegations that they sold surveillance software to Turkey's intelligence services, Munich prosecutors said on Monday.

Prosecutors say the suspects intentionally violated licensing requirements for dual-use goods by selling surveillance software to non-EU countries.

The accused  from the Bavarian-based FinFisher  have been charged with commercial violations of the German trade and payments act in three separate cases.

FinSpy software at the center of probe

According to the prosecutors in southern Germany, the firm struck a deal worth in excess of €5 million ($5.4 million) in 2015 to sell monitoring software to Ankara intelligence, along with training and support.

The spyware allows those who deploy it to acquire control of computers and smartphones, as well as follow communications.

Prosecutors said the Finspy software was provided to a Turkish opposition movement in 2017 to download from a fraudulent website "under false pretenses, in order to spy on them." 

The probe was sparked after four non-governmental organizations  the Society for Civil Liberties, Reporters Without Borders, the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) and Netzpolitik.org.  — all filed complaints.

Turkey abducts Erdogan opponents in Kosovo

jsi/wd (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)

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